Interview With Client Nordenia
Nordenia manufactures flexible packaging, technical films, and product components for various industrial sectors; from pre-made bags to transport safety films.
Joachim Hawighorst, sustainability expert at Nordenia Technologies GmbH and SimaPro user since 2009, talks about his experiences with Life Cycle Assessment and SimaPro.
Mr. Hawighorst, hello, to start with, could you please tell us a bit about Nordenia?
Certainly – Nordenia International is a multinational manufacturer of flexible packaging, technical films and product components. The products are used in a wide variety of areas, in particular in the hygiene, food, petcare, garden, beauty & healthcare and detergent markets. Nordenia employs over 3,000 people worldwide with a turnover of around 800 million Euro. I am working with Nordenia Technologies, the R&D centre of Nordenia International in Gronau/Westfalen.
You have been using SimaPro for several years now; why did you select it?
We compared the main LCA software systems on the market: GaBi, SimaPro, and Umberto. Two systems were presented on site. Overall, we found the structure of SimaPro more suitable for our needs, and the link to ecoinvent with all its unit processes is important as it makes the modeling process more flexible. Not the least, your presentation was quite convincing.
Oh thanks! How do you use SimaPro today?
We use it in quite many ways; partly driven by requests from business clients, and partly for our own development; we perform quick analyses where we only change material compositions or product geometry, but also comprehensive studies. We are now using LCA results more and more in product development. For the quick analyses, parameters and the calculation setups are really useful since they allow to quickly see the result of changes in product design for example. Content-wise, we both create carbon footprints and life cycle assessments with a more comprehensive impact assessment. And finally, we find that often our clients ask for a figure of the carbon footprint only and are really positively surprised if we are able to deliver also details about the contribution of different life cycle stages and of different materials to the overall footprint.
And has the use changed over the years? Do you expect changes in future?
In recent years, LCA information demands have strongly increased. This is also why we are now enlarging the LCA department in Nordenia (which was initially only one person, me). Data exchange with clients and also internally gets more important; larger companies more and more have own sustainability assessment systems, such as the individually developed sustainability scorecards, and we are asked to provide data and information that is compliant to these systems. On the other side, since our own use of sustainability information in product design has increased, we are having more and more quick analyses than before. For the future, I expect this to continue.
Good! Final question, is there anything you would wish to have in SimaPro? Any feedback?
Interesting – let me think; I’ll then have four wishes:
- A better implementation of water footprint methods (which is under way, if I understood correctly)
- A meaningful description and documentation of the datasets available without having to look in large report files
- more actual datasets (in ecoinvent e.g.)
- a reporting tool that creates charts in documents, and updates the charts once the data has changed. (is under development, red.)
Finally, as overall feedback, SimaPro is doing a good job and fulfilling our expectations; however, during a modeling process we often have questions about whether a data set is suitable in a specific model or not, more guidance here would be helpful.
Many thanks for the interview and for your time!
By Andreas Ciroth,
GreenDelta GmbH, SimaPro Partner for Germany
Interview held on August 15, 2011, originally in German language and translated to English by Andreas Ciroth